Welcome back. I'm Streaky. Today, I'm going to tell you the secret to getting loud music. Now, everybody thinks that loudness comes from the mastering stage, but it's not. It's a combination of mixing and mastering together. And today I'm going to show you exactly how you can do that whilst you're mixing to then present the track to a mastering engineer or some of them master it yourself. When the pro mix engineers send me their tracks, they always send me a fully limited version. So they've smashed it into a limiter and they also send me a non-limited version.
So why do they do this? Well, what they're doing when they're listening to a track when they're mixing, they want to hear how it's going to sound when it's mastered, whilst they're mixing. The reason for this is because they're using reference tracks that they're listening to. They've got references of their own, that they've worked on previously in the session at the same time. They want to know how their sound is going to sound when it's finished, rather than trying to second guess what the mastering engineer is doing. At this point, I know I'm rambling on, but there is an on-screen demo coming towards the end. So hold tight and don't forget to press the like button. So the reason they do this is because they know the limiter is going to be on the master. At the end, the mastering engineers always using a limiter. The limiter is essentially a compressor.
So they know by pushing into that, it's going to affect the sound of their mix. So they want to know what that sound is going to be like. So by using a limiter, AKA compressor, they know, okay, well this is going to sit right, and that's going to sit right when it's smashed at the end, by the mastering engineer, because that's what you have to do as a mastering engineer. So they're able to then compensate by adjusting their mix to how the limiter is set up. So if you're not using reference material, reference tracks, they are obviously other music that you hear in the real world. You need to be doing that when you're mixing, because it's super important to know how your mix is going to stand up when it's limited, when it is mastered so that, you know, okay, is the bass right? Is the vocal sitting correctly? Is everything, when it's pushed into a limiter.
A limiter has a massive effect on a track because it's always going to be crushed in. So this is going to push the vocals back. It's going to bring the bass out. It's going to make it brighter. So you need to be able to manipulate the mix for the limiter. So going back to the first bit, they send me the unlimited and the limited. Now it's really helpful for me to hear the reference track, their limited version, which is essentially their mix. They know that if they give me the unlimited version, I'm able to gain stage through my equipment and use the limiter. So I might not be limiting as hard as they were because I might be moving through my equipment to get the level up and I don't need to push it as far. I can then with fresh ears, with my knowledge and experience, I can then move the track with some compressions, some EQ, to take it to a place where, yes, it might end up at the same level as their original limited mix, but it's going to be done in such a nicer way.
And that's how you can get things sounding really loud because you're working as a mastering engineer or when you're working on your own track with a very dynamic track. So that way I can then keep those dynamics and still get it loud. And that is the skill of a good mastering engineer. But let me dive into the computer with you now. I'm going to show you exactly how they mix into the limiter so that you can use exactly the same technique as they do to present the track for mastering yourself or to give it to a mastering engineer.
Let's get on the computer and I'll show you the little trick. So here we are inside of Logic. Now, step one of this three step process is you need to balance your mix to around -10. True peak. So it's peaking at
-10. So balance it off so it’s sounds good. You like the way everything's moving. It all sounds right to you. Get the balance right. -10 right now. Step two is we're now going to get the reference track that we want to be as loud as, or as sound similar to, this in the same genre as us. We put that on another track and what we're going to do, we're going to get a meter and we're just going to work out what the RMS level is of that track. So the RMS, you can see on this meter here, and as we're playing that track, we can see that it's peaking out around -8,-7. So this leads us onto stage three. Stage three, we take the limiter that we've got, and we look at the meter that is on our track and we bring the gain up off the limiter so that it matches the RMS of the reference track that we're referencing against.
We want to bring that up as you can see. You bring that up so that the RMS says -8, -7. So now what we've got is the two tracks. They are exactly the same level RMS. What this does is when you now listen to your track, you're going to hear anything that's out of line, because this is essentially put it to so that it's a mastered level. So that when you're referencing your track against your reference track, you're going to be able to hear what's sticking out what's not right. With this stuff distorting, you're going to have to start compressing, moving things around in the track so that you can actually get the mixed sound dynamic and sound tight, and you're going to have to cut some different stuff. So this is where you're really finessing the mix to get it sounding exactly how you think it sounds the best it can be.
So what the beauty of this is, is that when you then go to export this track to deliver it to a mastering engineer, or to then apply a mastering chain, you can then take this amount off here. You can see we've got 13dB of gain, so we can take that off. And that drops the level right back down. So there's loads of headroom for the mastering engineer to work, do his thing, to get it as loud as you had it before. Because we know it goes that to that level. Because you know that the limited version that you've also supplied to the mastering engineer or to yourself, you know, it goes to that level. Now, all we're worried about is thinking about mastering and we're thinking about how are we going to get things to sound really neat and tidy and dynamic. And so we can get the level loud and it'll sound insane.
So this is the top tip. I hope you enjoy this. Let me know any questions you've got in the comments. There is a free mastering training as well in the comments. If you want to go through that. And also there is a video coming up with me mastering in Ozone. So after you've got your limited mix, take the limiter off. Get into Ozone if you're doing it yourself, and that will show you exactly how to then get it shaped nicely for the finished sound. I’ll see you on the next one.